Run, think about diabetes, eat, think about diabetes, sleep, repeat

The Bedside table of a type one diabetic: water, insulin (fast and slow acting), JDRF pencil case to carry it around in, emergency jelly babies, old needle packets!

The Bedside table of a type one diabetic: water, insulin (fast and slow acting), JDRF pencil case to carry it around in, emergency jelly babies, old needle packets!

I spend a lot of time thinking about diabetes. When I run I’m thinking about how I’m feeling, do I need to test my blood to avoid the risk of hypo, does my level of effort mean my liver is releasing glucose into my blood or not? When I eat I obviously think about how many carbs I’m about to eat and how sensitive I think I’m going to be to the insulin (my wife will say “you’re not being very sociable.” And then, “oh, you’re doing maths” as she sees me looking at my plate). During the day at work I’m often wondering if I’ve got symptoms of high or low blood sugar or whether I’ve just drunk too much coffee. I should give up the coffee really, but there is only so much self discipline one can impose on oneself.

Despite thinking about diabetes a lot, I think about lots of other things too, and there are sometimes crucial points in the day where I forget that I’m diabetic. One happened this morning when I left the house. Without my insulin. The picture above is my bedside “table” (it’s a cardboard box) where my insulin stayed all day.

I realised after I had made myself a big bowl of muesli and banana. In fact, I only realised after I had started eating. Minor alarm – “I haven’t taken my insulin yet” – turned to major alarm – “I don’t have my stupid insulin!” Cue pouring the bowl of cereal into the bin and marching upstairs to buy fried eggs, bacon, sausage (5g of carb, but I thought I could handle that) and tomato. Blood sugar only mildly up after all that luckily, and it returned to 5.7 (perfect!) after a couple of hours.

I was also out for a work lunch. Luckily the special was swordfish and salad so I could order a carb free lunch. One of the people I was lunching with gave me a knowing look when I declined to order a side of potatoes. He knows I have a huge appetite, and knew exactly why I was abstaining! I even had to eat a cereal bar (30g carb) over the course of the afternoon to keep my blood sugar from dropping too low. This requires another act of will power. Someone as greedy as me finds it really difficult to eat only half a cereal bar in one go.

By home time blood sugar had dropped to 4.1 so I even had to eat some jelly babies before running home.

This is all part and parcel of being a (forgetful) diabetic. Luckily I’m still in the honey moon phase, and I’m no longer ill, so I got away with it.

All's well that end's well. The ideal range for Blood Glucose is between 4 and 8 mmol/litre. Mine was briefly over 9 this morning (I'd already eaten too much cereal before I realised I didn't have my insulin), but has been very well behaved since then.

All’s well that ends well. The ideal range for Blood Glucose is between 4 and 8 mmol/litre. Mine was briefly over 9 this morning (I’d already eaten too much cereal before I realised I didn’t have my insulin), but has been very well behaved since then.

Diabetes Management

Self control – or how resisting cake makes me worse at my job

Interestingly when I googled "resisting temptation" the most common images were of sexual temptation, followed by sweet and fatty foods. Sweet foods are the problem for diabetics of course.

Interestingly when I googled “resisting temptation” the most common images were of sexual temptation, followed by sweet and fatty foods. Sweet foods are the problem for diabetics of course.

Temptation makes me test my blood

I get an increased desire to test my blood if I’m feeling hungry, or am tempted by food. I’ve noticed this recently. If I’m feeling hungry in general or, as happened yesterday, am offered brownies for tea when staying with the family, I have to wrestle with my self control. All diabetics will be familiar with this – “I know that sugary snack is bad for me, but it will taste so good!” I seem to use blood tests to reinforce my powers of will power. If I’m tempted, I test, and if my blood sugar is high (above 7), then I don’t have any excuse to eat the snack. And in general I don’t! But I have expended mental energy thinking about it.

Diabetes Management